Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Apr 2013 22:27 UTC
Google It's apparently browser engine day today. After Mozilla and Samsung announcing Servo, Google has just announced it's forking WebKit into Blink. Like WebKit, Blink will be open source, and it will also be used by other browser makers - most prominently, Opera has already announced it's not using WebKit, but Blink. Update: Courtesy of MacRumors, this graph illustrates how just how much Google contributed to WebKit. Much more than I thought. Also, Chrome developer Alex Russell: "To make a better platform faster, you must be able to iterate faster. Steps away from that are steps away from a better platform. Today's WebKit defeats that imperative in ways large and small. It's not anybody's fault, but it does need to change. And changing it will allow us to iterate faster, working through the annealing process that takes a good idea from drawing board to API to refined feature."
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RE[5]: Is Blink Open Source?
by Neolander on Fri 5th Apr 2013 06:48 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Is Blink Open Source?"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Your use of the "effective" word here is a bit weird, as it seems that to you, the only thing that matters on a software platform is how much money can be extracted from users. Basically, what you're saying here is that as far as computing works, users do not matter, they are just a bunch of mindless sheeps from which money can be pumped out as needed.

I do hope for Apple that it's not how they are thinking. Because if having a lot of revenue per capita is all that determined the success of a software platform, then it would be OSX, not Windows, which would be the main desktop operating system today. Which is obviously not the case.

Let me explain my point.

You have strongly stressed the point that what you're caring about is revenue per capita, and not global revenue. Mac users bring a lot of money to the Mac ecosystem simply by buying such expensive machines, and to do so, they must have a lot of money to spend in computers. So that money will likely go into more expensive Mac-related peripherals and software than those of the overall more resource-constrained Windows crowd.

Beyond that purchase step, Macs have long had a very poor freeware ecosystem, since they have neither the sheer user base of Windows nor the developer-centric ecosystem of other Unices. This means that on OSX, if you want to do something which the system is not good at, you pretty much have to pay for it, or satisfy yourself with low-functional demo versions. Perhaps the Mac App Store can help with that, but we won't know until a few more decades.

So, in theory at least, the Mac platform had everything that you like and consider efficient. Expensive hardware, expensive software, rich users, and no freeware escape route. Yet the Windows platform has, in the end, come to dominate.

So, what could play a role in this turn of event, which should be surprising for you. Probably not Microsoft's heavy-handed politics, since Apple have just as long of a juridic and PR arm. Probably not money either, since Apple make tons of it. So could it just be users?


-Due to the PC world's more relaxed attitude towards OEMs, there is a broader hardware diversity, which means that the platform targets much more potential users. As a user, there is something for you in the PC world whether you have a high or low budget, and whether you are a bored accountant or a crazy gamer.

-With users come developers, since the will to develop software comes with the daily experience of an OS' limitations, and since one cannot develop good software without having a machine to test it on.

-With developers comes software, both small freewares and cheap sharewares which have been written just for the sheer satisfaction of scratching an itch, and commercial stuff which is here to feed the kids.

-With software come more users, since if a platform can do more than the others AND is more comfortable to get into and deal with, then users will choose it.


It's just a positive feedback loop, which sadly makes life much harder for new platforms and thus tends to lead to stagnation in the long run. Even in the commercial world, people tend to prefer the larger ecosystem when the difference becomes big enough. Because when you have lots of users on a platform, even if they spend less on the average, they tend to spend more as a whole in the long run. Which is what matters on a quarterly financial sheet.

Which is why when software exists for both OSX and Windows, the OSX version tends to be less polished, and also why Apple have to regularly buy new companies and force themselves to shut down their Windows products in order to stay relevant in the multimedia field, rather than having Mac users and developers spontaneously help them by building better products on their own.

Edited 2013-04-05 06:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Your use of the "effective" word here is a bit weird, as it seems that to you, the only thing that matters on a software platform is how much money can be extracted from users. Basically, what you're saying here is that as far as computing works, users do not matter, they are just a bunch of mindless sheeps from which money can be pumped out as needed.



Uhh - no - that is not what I said. I am discussing platform performance as a platform, not from the perspective of the end user preferences.

A platform is precisely that - something upon which other things stand. It's the other things that stand on the platform that add value to that platform. So much value can be added to a platform by that which stands upon it that, as was the case with Windows, the inherent shortcomings of the underlying OS for users can be out weighed by the value and benefits added by the third party additions that stand upon the platform. A platform could rest upon a beautifully designed OS but with nothing standing upon it it would function as a poor platform.

The key to how much stuff stands upon a platform is how much third parties add stuff to the platform (software, hardware, services, etc) which in turn is largely dictated by what commercial opportunities that platform offers. The commercial opportunity that a platform offers is mostly calculated financially, how many users and how much they spend on average as against the costs of operating on a given platform. iOS is easy to operate on (iTunes distribution, SDK kits and apps, limited number of form factors etc) and it's high per capita spend means that it offers a greater commercial target even though in sheer numbers Android devices (mostly low end) out sell iOS devices.

You have strongly stressed the point that what you're caring about is revenue per capita, and not global revenue.


I fear you have completely missed the point I was making. I didn't realise how much of the basic stuff I had to explain to you. Put simply it's per capita spend times the number of users that dictates the overall commercial size of a platform. As an example if every iOS user spends generates on average three times the amount of economic activity that an on average Android users generate then even if Android outsells iOS by three times the two platforms are, from the point of view of commercial third parties the same size. (In reality, based on the evidence I have seen, iOS user generate on average more than three times the economic activity of Android users.)

As for the stuff you wrote about Mac and Windows it feels like a discussion of the past. Desktop technology is no longer the driver of the tech industry. The key factor from any Mac users point of view is that for several years now there has been not a single significant disincentive to using the Mac platform. What Apple under Jobs achieved in relation to the desktop was great from a Mac users perspective, they didn't beat Microsoft or Windows they just made them irrelevant. There was a period when if you were a Mac user you felt fear and active dislike of Microsoft and Windows, and perceived them realistically as a threat to the Mac. Now whatever Microsoft does with Windows is wholly irrelevant to the Mac experience.

Reply Parent Score: 0